091 Potatoes, rain or shine

091 Potatoes, rain or shine

My potatoes had been ready to plant for a while, and I had to get the potato beds finished to plant them. The weather didn’t cooperate, so we dug Irish potato beds in the rain. The next day was a sunnier garden day with more bed-prep and potato planting. Potatoes rain or shine!

It is dark and ugly out but I think, I am actually going to try and get some of the potatoes into the ground. So, we’ll see how far I get.

The golden dead nettles are blooming in large patches. A nice snack!

But let’s start at the beginning. The neighbor’s baby lambs are here! The experience of seeing them grow up without the responsibility? Perfect!

They are so cute! I just made sure there is a bit of a distance between my fence and the neighbor’s fence everywhere, just so they don’t get too scared if Pepper doesn’t like them. And… that the fence is in good condition everywhere because I don’t want them to get at each other. And, I don’t want them to get super scared. If Pepper does scare them, I’m just going to take Pepper with me on a leash today. That’s totally fine.

Luckily, Pepper was satisfied marking his territory. He didn’t care about the sheep. And look at all those pretty little pansies.

It’s raining a lot… I want to plant potatoes! I’m ready. I just did the entire outline. I hope it goes away in a few minutes. I’m going to just check everything in here… Then we are going to see if I go home or if I get to do a little bit more.

I left the greenhouse open for Pepper to hide in if the rain got too much and started cutting the edge. I didn’t have any experience with this, so it took a while to get the hang of the spade. By the time I’d made it around the bed, I was much better at this.

The rain shifted gears again, so we hid in the greenhouse for a short break. But I’d decided the rain wouldn’t stop me that day, so I was back at it shortly after. I wanted to get the first bed done.

Ironically, I think this would have been easier if I hadn’t weeded half the bed first. I will find out if I’m right when I do beds six and seven.

Where I could fold over the grass, things went fast. Where I had to dig earth, it took a while. But in the end, the first bed was finished.

It is raining a lot but I think I am ready to get the first potatoes into the ground. So, we are going to finish the first potato bed. And then I’m going to call it a day, I think.

I placed the potatoes onto the bed for roughly even spacing. I really hope they’ll like the Irish potato beds.

I planted Queen Anne in the first bed, an early potato variety. I have five other varieties of seed potatoes in the greenhouse.

If this was a proper Irish bed, I could now place the potatoes between the sods of grass. I hope I get to show you when I did the last two beds. But this worked. I just needed a hand spade. I cleaned up remaining grass here and there as I went and smoothed out the soil.

Planting potatoes was one of those things I’d been most nervous about. I have never grown potatoes before. I was scared to destroy perfectly good seed stock. I don’t know how easy or hard they are to kill.

Pepper was eager to go home. This California dog does not like rain.

There is one last thing I want to do before I leave, and that’s to find a spot for the rhubarb. When I took over the plot, there were flowers here. They regrew this spring, unfortunately. They are very strongly rooted, so pulling them didn’t work. In the end, I dug them out. The rhubarb will move into one of the two prime spots in front of the garden house.

The plants will get a lot of sunlight there, and hopefully provide green for most of the year. I mulched with the flowers I don’t want in the bed. I’ll add some more soil and mulch material here soon. I want these to thrive. I decided to plant them into the ground, as rhubarb is easy to propagate.

Herbs, strawberries, rhubarb. This is starting to feel like a food forest.

It was time to ditch the boots and go home. The first bed was finished, and the rhubarb was in the ground.

With the rhubarb detour, Pepper barely dares get his hopes up that we are getting out of the rain. I closed up the greenhouse, and we called it a day. Both of us were in dire need of a good cleaning.

The birds were singing and the cherry tree buzzing with bees.

It is hopefully going to be a garden day. I’m going to start by watering the seedlings I brought to the greenhouse yesterday. And then we are going to mulch yesterday’s potato bed and get started on the other potato beds.

Wherever I look, there are things to get excited about! There are chickens making new chickens over there. There is a mama sheep with her two little lambs right next to my car… It’s just… there is so much going on!

Well, what I’m doing is mulching some of my beds, because my neighbors have been very generous and dumping all their grass clippings and leaves and stuff in a corner.

I admit I hadn’t realized just how much grass there was.

If I leave it there, it is just going to form mats. It is not going to compost well. So, I’m spreading it out in a thin layer all over the beds. I am going to do one bed that is not planted yet, just to see what happens. And, the rest is going on the potato beds as a first layer of mulch.

I decided this was a good time to move the compost into the final position, so the neighbors could dump there.

The heap of leaves and grass had gotten quite large. I didn’t want the grass to rot into an anaerobic mass of yuck, so this couldn’t wait any longer. The potatoes would need to wait until I was done here. I spread some of the wetter grass on an empty bed to dry it. It will feed the soil, and maybe smother some of the weeds.

While filling the cart, I sorted out any larger twigs and pieces that would not make good mulch yet.

The bed got a very thin layer of mulching. I didn’t want to stop any of the potatoes from growing. I will add a lot more once the plants are up and I know where to give them room.

I even managed to start on the potato beds before it was time for lunch.

This turned out to be much easier in good weather and with a few layers of clothing less to get in the way. I also realized halfway around the bed that I wasn’t wearing the boots I thought I’d need for the spade. I guess the soles of my feet are strong enough to stand on the spade’s edge. Luckily, it’s a comfortable one.

I still don’t like how much I’m disturbing the soil. I know most of the disturbance is only in the ditches. But I killed a few earth worms and countless microbes nonetheless.

It is time to break for lunch, but I got a lot done. I did the mulch thing and started on the potato beds. The potato beds are actually coming along. I’ve got the second one finished, ready for planting. And the other three are almost ready to get planted as well. So, I think I’ll need another two hour today. And then, all the potato beds will be done. I’m so happy!

So long, and thanks for being here.